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Spirit of a Champion: Rare Genetic Disorder Doesn’t Keep Jeggie Weets From Living It Up at The Dragstrip

Kelly Wade photos

Certain names catch attention, but 9-year-old Jeggie Weets would most definitely catch your attention anyway. The precocious fourth grader and Jr. Dragster ace is active and social, and he clearly finds joy in making people laugh.

He’s also fighting a battle no child should have to face. Jeggie was diagnosed with Niemann Pick Disease Type C, a rare and fatal genetic disorder that, as yet, has no FDA approved treatment or cure.

[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #179, the 30 Under 30 Issue, in November/December of 2022.]

Jeggie Weets with Troy Coughlin Jr. and wife Brenna

Despite the progression of the disease, Jeggie has shown that he has a champion spirit that mimics that of the five-time NHRA Pro Stock world champion after which he was named, Jeg Coughlin Jr. In 2022, young Jeggie reached multiple final rounds and finished sixth in the Cordova Dragway Jr. series points.

“I just love going fast, ” he says. “I’ve been drag racing since I was 5, and the best part about it is the people I get to be around.”

His support group includes dad Brad and mom Jenna, as well as his 12-year-old sister, Claire. This year, she joined her little brother in the Jr. Dragster series and finished No. 7 at their home track.

Brad is also a racer, but the source of his joy these days comes from watching his kids compete.

“It’s just awesome,” he says. “I love it, and it’s almost more fun than me driving. The Jr. Dragster program is great – it’s keeping the love of drag racing in their hearts for generations.”

The family mostly stays local, but this season, they were invited to the historic U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis as special guests of some of the national event-touring Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series racers.

“[Racer] Steve Foley saw one of Jeg’s health articles and hit us up, and he’s associated with Daren Poole-Adams. We were complete strangers to them, but they had us here to hang out,” Brad explains. “They’re just the nicest guys you could ever meet; it’s mind-boggling how good of people they are.”

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Poole-Adams, a racer who also owns the COPO Camaro Foley campaigns in Stock Eliminator, sponsored the trip for the Weets family, and he also sponsors the siblings in the Jr. drag racing series.

“They’re just a great, great family, and we love having them here,” says Poole-Adams. “That’s the really cool thing about drag racing: you get to meet awesome people like this and help one another out. It means something to all of us.”

For more information about Niemann Pick Disease Type C: fightnpc.com

Keep up with Jeggie’s journey: Facebook.com/jegsfightagainstnpc

This story was originally published on February 23, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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